Pastor guilty of Social Security theft

Published 4:13 am Wednesday, October 10, 2018

U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced Tuesday, Oct. 2, that Otho Schilling, 59, of Mt. Hermon, pleaded guilty Tuesday to Theft of Government Funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.

According to court records, Schilling, while the pastor of a church in Bush between 2005-2016, required the church to pay his personal expenses — such as his health and car insurance premiums, car payments, and personal land note — in lieu of the church paying him a salary directly.

During this period, Schilling was receiving Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (“RSDI”) from the Social Security Administration in the amount of $1,728 a month. Strasser said that Schilling concealed both his earnings and employment from the Social Security Administration. Accordingly, he fraudulently received over $200,000 in RSDI benefits he was not entitled to receive, due to his employment with the church.

U.S. District Court Judge Jay C. Zainey will sentence Schilling on Jan. 8, 2019.

Schilling faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and a mandatory $100 special assessment.

Strasser praised the work of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Supervisor of the Financial Crimes Unit.